After a car accident, a terrible storm, or any other type of accident, victims who have been injured rely on their insurance company to cover the cost of their medical bills, damaged property, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always honor and pay out valid claims. When insurance companies deny valid claims, it is often because they are trying to cut corners to save money.
When insurance companies intentionally deny a person’s claim without a valid reason, it is called a bad faith insurance claim. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a bad faith Insurance claim, you have the right to pursue compensation. We will discuss the elements you will need to prove to recover compensation in a bad faith insurance claim case.
Understanding the Elements of a Bad Faith Insurance Claim
There are four key elements customers need to prove when bringing a bad face insurance claim:
- A valid insurance claim
- A delay or denial of the insurance claim
- On unreasonable or unfair grounds
- The customer experienced damages
First, the claimant must show that they have a valid insurance claim. Not all insurance policies cover all losses under every circumstance. To recover compensation under another driver’s car insurance policy, you will need to be able to prove he or she was at fault for your accident. Both first-party and third-party insurance claims can lead to bad faith insurance denials and delays of compensation.
The claimant will also need to prove that the resolution of their insurance claim has been delayed or denied. Insurance claims take time, so expecting a resolution and mediately or even within the first few days or weeks of failing will not constitute a delay in your claim. However, you are not required to sit through unjustified and unnecessary delays. You also need to show that the denial of your claim was unreasonable or unfair.
The claimant also needs to show that he or she has suffered financial losses due to the insurance companies’ bad faith practices. These financial losses are called damages. For example, if an insurance company has failed to pay out a claim after a bad storm, and the damage to the claimant’s home becomes worse, the claim may be entitled to compensation beyond the original value of the claim.
Examples of Unreasonable or Unfair Denials of Claims
Insurance companies that operate in Alabama have a legal duty to operate in good faith and fair dealing and to treat their customers fairly and honestly. When an insurance company unjustly denies insurance coverage or provides a customer with insufficient coverage for a claim within that customer’s policy, the insurance company is guilty of engaging in bad faith dealings. Examples of bad faith insurance practices include the following:
- Unjustified denial of insurance coverage
- Excessive delay in responding to an insurance claim for coverage
- Lying or being misleading about what coverage a customer’s policy offers
- Lying or being misleading about the facts surrounding the denial of insurance coverage
- Failure to provide adequate reasoning on why the insurance company denied the claim
- Failure to make a good-faith attempt to settle the claim when the insurer is reasonably likely to be liable
- Altering an insurance application or policy without the customer’s knowledge and relying on these illegally altered documents to deny the customer’s claim
- Canceling or rescinding a customer’s insurance policy to avoid paying a valid claim
Steps to Take When Dealing With a Bad Faith Insurance Claim
If you believe that you or your loved one have been the victim of a bad faith insurance claim, it is important that you carefully track all of the communications with your insurance. Make note of the dates and times of phone calls you have had with your insurance company. Write down the names of the representatives you have spoken to and any complaint or grievance numbers they have issued you. You will need to prove that you have tried to resolve your claim before taking legal action.
Discuss Your Bad Faith Insurance Claim With an Alabama Attorney
Working with an experienced Alabama bad faith insurance claim attorney will help you navigate the process of recovering the compensation you deserve. An attorney can help you pursue an appeal and negotiate the best settlement possible on your behalf. We will help you gather evidence showing that you are ready and willing to pursue legal remedies if the insurance company continues to wrongly deny your claim. If you need help pursuing a bad face insurance claim on behalf of yourself or a loved one, contact the professional and effective Alabama attorneys at Heninger Garrison Davis as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation.